Cultural leader

Over more than 15 years of academic and professional experience, Paolo Petrocelli has become one of the most dynamic young leaders in the field of arts, culture and youth development, collaborating with some of the largest and most prestigious international organizations, including United Nations, UNESCO, European Commission, World Economic Forum.

European Young Leader

In 2022, Petrocelli has been selected among the 40 most influential young people in Europe and nominated European Young Leader by the organization Friends of Europe, one of the most important European think tanks committed to promoting a new vision for a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive Europe.

The organization at the top of which several former Presidents of the European Commission and  Parliament and former Prime Ministers, including Herman Van Rompuy and Jean-Claude Juncker, each year selects 40 of the most influential under-40 personalities in Europe: young leaders who through their civil and professional commitment have managed to establish themselves for their ability to generate a positive impact within the European Union in various fields including: politics, business, science, culture, sport, media.

Among the European Young Leaders of 2022 has been nominated Paolo Petrocelli, recognized as one of the leading cultural managers of his generation at European and international level.

Fortune 40 under 40

In 2022, Paolo Petrocelli has been nominated by Fortune among the 40 most important Italian personalities under 40.

Fortune, one of the most important American magazine for business and economy in the world, publishes a list of the top 40 under 40 talents every year.

On the model of the list created in the United States, Fortune Italy has selected among hundreds of top managers, researchers and innovators, the 40 leading Italian personalities for 2022: young professionals who with their daily commitment contribute not only to the development of their own organizations, but also to the change of the country.

Among the 2022 talents, Fortune Italy has selected also Paolo Petrocelli, thus including for the first time the profile of a cultural manager in the 40 under 40 list.


In 2014, Petrocelli founded the Italian Youth Association for UNESCO, initially named Youth Committee of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, a non-profit organization that works to develop UNESCO priorities in the field of education, science, culture, information and communication among the young generations in Italy.

He chaired the organization as President for five years, until 2019. Today he serves as Honorary President.

Under his leadership, the Association became the largest youth organization in the UNESCO system worldwide, counting over 300 members between 20 and 35 years old and a total of 20 regional representations from whole Italian territory.

Paolo Petrocelli delivering a speech at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

Petrocelli with Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Bogotà, Colombia

Paolo Petrocelli with the Board of the Italian Youth Association for UNESCO at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

Paolo Petrocelli leading a delegation of representatives the Italian Youth Association for UNESCO at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

Paolo Petrocelli at the Meeting of National Commissions for UNESCO in Paris

Paolo Petrocelli with the Board and Regional Respresentatives of the Italian Youth Association for UNESCO at the Ministry of Education on Italy headquarters in Rome

Petrocelli and Eric Falt (Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information at UNESCO)

Petrocelli and Franco Bernabè (President, Italian National Commission for UNESCO)

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

Alumnus & Fellow

Paolo Petrocelli is one of the twelve emerging leaders selected to participate to the Fellowship Program 2014 of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

World Economic Forum

Global Shaper

Paolo Petrocelli is a Founding Member of the Global Shapers Rome Hub of the World Economic Forum, an initiative that unite, on a global level, a generation of young talents and involve them in the processes of changing society.

BMW Foundation

Fellow & Member

He is a Fellow and a Member of the Responsible Leaders Network of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, organization that promotes responsible leadership and inspires leaders worldwide to work towards a peaceful, just and sustainable future.

Salzburg Global Seminar


He is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, an independent non-profit organization founded in 1947 to challenge current and future leaders to shape a better world.

Paolo Petrocelli in Jordan and Qatar with the UNOAC Fellows

Paolo Petrocelli with the Global Shapers Rome Hub members